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Men’s basketball falls to Louisiana Tech

By Evan Neustater     2/18/14 5:31pm

The Rice University men’s basketball team dropped their fourth game in five tries on Saturday, losing 85-46 to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.  The Owls (7-17 overall, 2-9 Conference-USA) suffered their worst loss of the season against the Bulldogs, who are 21-5 overall and 9-2 in conference. 

The Rice University men’s basketball team dropped their fourth game in five tries on Saturday, losing 85-46 to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.  The Owls (7-17 overall, 2-9 Conference-USA) suffered their worst loss of the season against the Bulldogs, who are 21-5 overall and 9-2 in conference. With the loss, the Owls are currently tied with East Carolina University  for last place in C-USA.

For the Owls, turnovers were the story of the game. Rice turned the ball over a season-high 23 times, which Louisiana Tech took advantage of to score 25 points.  In comparison, the Owls only converted 12 assists and no player recorded more than nine points. Rice shot 38.3 percent from the field and was out-rebounded by a margin of 41-24.



Senior guard Austin Ramljak and sophomore guard Max Guercy tied for the Owls’ scoring leads with nine points each. Ramljak continues his impressive season and moves closer to the record for most consecutive games with a three-point field goal conversion. With a three-pointer early in the second half, Ramljak moved past Shawn Tyndell for sole possession of second place, trailing only record-holder Adam Peakes, who recorded a three-pointer in 39 straight games during his time at Rice in the mid-90’s. Ramljak also led the team with six rebounds, a season-high.

Head Coach Ben Braun said Ramljak has been one of the prolific scorers for the team this season. When a shot needs to be made, Braun said the team turns to Ramljak.

 “He’s our best shooter,” Braun said. “He’s putting it down and making plays for our team.”

The Bulldogs maintained the lead for most of the game, scoring in a series of seven-point spurts that set the tone of the game early. Louisiana Tech also stole the ball from Rice 11 times, directly leading to 14 points off turnovers. The Bulldogs entered halftime with a 42-17 advantage.

The Owls performed marginally better in the second half, but the Bulldogs outscored them 43-29. The Owls shot similarly as they did in the game’s first half, shooting 40 percent on 10-25 shooting. 

Freshman forward Sean Obi added six points and four rebounds. Obi is recording almost one double-double per game, averaging 11.6 points and 9.7 rebounds while also shooting 59.6 percent from the field.

The Owls continue their road trip on Thursday, Feb. 20 when they head to Virginia to face new C-USA foe, Old Dominion University. In Old Dominion’s first year in the conference, the Monarchs are in seventh place with a 12-14 overall record. Old Dominion is also coming off a defeat, losing to University of Tulsa 76-37 on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Braun said practicing is important to keep the team mentally prepared after their loss to Louisiana Tech.

“When we’ve been prepared and we’ve had good practices, it has generally carried over into those games,” Braun said. “Practice would be my key to getting our team back on track.”

Junior guard Dan Peera said when the team is playing efficiently, the Owls can play with any team in C-USA.

 “We can beat anybody,” Peera said. “This is a good time to have a hiccup. We can pick it up for the end of conference play and the conference tournament and get a run going and see where we can take this.” 



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